3952: Abundance by Seth Mould


Abundance can be a bid of nine tricks in solo whist and this was the theme. The unclued 13d was LETTER-CARDS and the grid represented a conventional hand of solo whist with the cards represented by their initial letters. Where two letters had to be omitted from down answers the letters not entered spelled YARBOROUGH. The south hand was an extreme example of this. A good example of abundance would be a hand which had all high cards but was missing all four aces. This was the final decision that the solver had to make, leaving the east hand with AN ES FATNESS A. Letters omitted from clues had to be decoded thus.
A: A, B, C or D
E: E
F: F, G, H or I
J: J
K: K, L or M
N: N, O or P
Q: Q or R
S: S
T: T, U, V, W, X, Y or Z

This gave the message – HIGHLIGHT LONGEST WORD IN EAST’S HAND. The longest word was FATNESS.
This was an excellent puzzle.

Extra letters in clues are shown in square brackets. Letters to be omitted from 10 down answers are shown in bold.

ACROSS
8 Capote Oscar secured by dodgy [f]lack? (5)
CLOAK anag. O + lack
10 [F]old bill, compact, tight (7)
ACCOMPT anag. compact
12 Heraldic border obscured by inferior [f]lex (4)
ORLE Hidden
14 Leaders of government [f]ire regulator of banking system (4)
GIRO Initial letters
15 A goddess, Nova[k] perhaps, inside one prone to rash actions (7)
ASTARTE STAR (Nova) in ATE (Goddess of rash actions)
16 [F]arm turning over offspring for a mass of gold? (6)
NUGGET GUN (rev.) + GET
17 [F]log German wine to clubs (5)
CHOCK C (clubs) + HOCK
18 Tag, in a pie lined with [f]at (7, two words)
TAIL END anag. LINED + AT
19 Manchester City getting s[t]ick, out of synch somehow, lose yards? (9)
METRICATE Compound anag. MANCHESTER CITY less SYNCH
21 Mark span[k]s daughter with energy to show old-fashioned contempt (6)
SDEIGN D (daughter) + E (energy) in SIGN
23 Old recording with alter[n]ation of chords. Simply Red? (13)
MONOCHROMATIC MONO (record) + CHROMATIC
29 Mea[n]ly sauce and criticise a district attorney (6)
PANADA PAN (criticise) A DA
31 March fan out, i[f] obstructing horse guard (9)
CHAMFRAIN anag. MARCH FAN + I
32 Spy film about Hum[e] (7)
PICKEER PIC + REEK (hum) reversed
33 Work, in [s]um: a downer (5)
OPIUM OP + I (in) + UM
34 Elizabeth briefly restrains child, without [t]ending to scold and give a lot of smacks (6)
BEKISS BESS containing KI (KID less ending to scolD)
35 Consuming second trifle, fail to get out of the habit (7)
DISROBE DIE (fail) containing S (second) + ROB
36 London bo[n]d's initially attractive real redemption yield (4)
ARRY initial letters
37 Seen in a bad way, I[Q] served for little in the past (4)
ESNE anag. SEEN
38 Mad aunt, [a] deranged and toothless creature (7)
TAMANDU anag. MAD AUNT
39 Heavenly body [f]laying me in bed (5)
COMET ME in COT

DOWN
1 Drunk held so[n]s up (7)
SLOSHED anag. held SOS
2 Fine catboat, scuttled, wasting away (11)
TABEFACTION anag. FINE CATBOAT
3 Po[e]t has a kind of dash, concealing broken heart (7)
EARTHEN EN (dash) containing anag. HEART The definition POT is of the adjectival usage.
4 Edwardian[a] - extremely taken by frightening dramatic action of yore (7)
SCENARY SCARY containing extreme letters of EdwardiaN
5 Evolutionary theory about moist fruit (10)
FORTUITISM anag. MOIST FRUIT
6 Like runners not aspiring to record[s] I set? (7)
EPIGEAL EP (record) + I GEAL
7 Notice drunkard's ro[t]und paunch at first (4)
SPOT SOT containing P
8 Jazz fan who's about to seize microphone, like a crashing bore? (11)
CATACLYSMIC CAT + CLY (seize) in A’S (who’s) + MIC
9 Prior warning benefiting European staff? (9)
FORETOKEN FOR + E + TOKEN (Chambers defines STAFF as
a token authorizing an engine-driver to proceed along a section of single-track railway)
11 Force son to drop heroin, rent asunder internally (8)
STRENGTH S (son) + GT (drop) + H containing anag. RENT
13 Unclued (11)
LETTERCARDS Yes, there are 13 cards in each suit!
20 After Arsenal's No 4 is dismissed, can the ten men regroup and produce magic? (11)
ENCHANTMENT anag. CAN THE TEN MEN less E (4th letter in Arsenal)
22 Able to withstand battery, steer forward with strength of spirit (11)
CANNON-PROOF CANN (old spelling of CON) + ON + PROOF
24 Fans sent wild by County's pious owner? (10)
CONFESSANT CO (county) + anag. FANS SENT
25 After tense gold run, one flier's jolly bullish (9)
TAURIFORM T + AU + R + I + FO (Flying officer) + RM (royal marine = jolly)
26 Laboratory animal's weak, injected with drug time and time again (8, two words)
WHITE RAT W (weak) + HIT + ERA + T (both the latter = time)
27 Verminous American native bum imbibing half of fla[s]k (7)
PACKRAT ACK (half of ACK-ACK) in PRAT
28 Now, this oil is a rendering of [F]leet Prison (7)
PRESENT Comp. anag. LEET PRISON less OIL
29 Tulip I[a]n seeded, bearing fruit (7)
PILI-NUT anag.
30 Troubled king departing in disarray - a Cavalier might have been uni[n]formed in this (7)
DOUBLET anag. TROUBLED less R (king)
34 Sick fellow found on ro[a]d (4)
BARF  F (fellow) on BAR